Kennebunkport on a whim
By some miracle, I recently found myself somehow caught up on work AND with childcare for the day (what?!) so I decided to take an impromptu road trip to Kennebunkport, Maine- more specifically, Cape Porpoise. I had seen some pretty incredible photos of the area- think buoys, boats and beaches, so it had definitely been on my list. I woke up early, packed the Paperboats in the car and zipped up there for a day trip and, boy, am I glad I did!
I arrived in Cape Porpoise just before 8 AM. I knew very little about the area and due to the spontaneous nature of the trip, had no time to research. I parked easily on a side street near a picturesque church and town hall building. A very friendly local told me it was totally fine to park there all day. I was pleasantly surprised by this given that it was mid-July in Maine, but hey I'll take it. I immediately began taking in the quintessential coastal New England charm. Everywhere I turned I saw sweet coastal gems- buoy walls galore (swoon), gorgeous beach roses, beautiful barns, boats in the harbor...the list goes on and on. I felt like a kid in a candy store and basically ran around all morning giddily snapping photos like the nerdy tourist that I am!
After about an hour of wandering, I decided to take a breakfast break. It was super hot out and I knew my pace wouldn't be sustainable without some food and my second iced coffee of the morning. On my drive in I noticed a cute restaurant called Musette right in Cape Porpoise's center, but unfortunately they were closed. Instead I opted for a quick grab-and-go meal at Cape Porpoise Kitchen so I could get back to exploring. It was a cute little deli/market/store that looked like it would have great beach sandwiches. It was fun to browse the store while I waited for my turn to order. I grabbed an iced coffee from the coffee bar and a piece of quiche and ate it in their "garden seating area", a cute shady spot behind the building with white picnic tables and Adirondack chairs overlooking a marsh. I kicked my feet up and charged up for the next leg of my journey.
Next, I got my car and made my way over to Bickford Island via Pier Road to check out the views of Goat Island and the lighthouse. There were a couple of restaurants right on the water there with views of the boats in the harbor that I made note of for possible lunch spots. I drove around a bit more, searching for a couple of spots I had seen thanks to instagram, such as Langsford Rd. Lobster and Cape Porpoise Fish House.
Cape Porpoise was small and easy to navigate- perfect for a day trip. I already felt like I had the lay of the land there so I decided to venture into Kennebunkport's Dock Square for some shopping before lunch. Only about a five-minute drive away, Dock Square was filled with restaurants, shops, boutiques and galleries. It was bustling compared to Cape Porpoise. I popped into a few stores to check out many unique handmade gifts and beautiful home decor pieces. A couple of my favorite spots were Day Trip Society (and Day Trip Jr. for kids), Dock Square Emporium, Local Color, Shoot the Moon and of course, The Candyman. I also checked out some antique shops and galleries overlooking the harbor.
After a couple hours of shopping and bopping, I made my way back to Cape Porpoise for lunch. I originally planned to go to Cape Pier Chowder House for a chowder and lobster roll in their tent overlooking the water but their parking lot was full and I ended up next door at Pier 77. This turned out to be lucky because the wind had picked up significantly by the water. Fortunately, Pier 77 had plenty of tables inside with their windows open so I could still experience the coastal breeze without my lunch blowing away. I ordered a chowder and a grilled peach and burrata salad with arugula and fresh berries. Everything was delicious and the staff was so sweet. They also have a pub called The Ramp, as well as an outdoor patio with brightly colored tables if you are looking for more of a casual feel.
After lunch I decided to venture over to Goose Rocks Beach. I didn't end up paying the $25 parking fee since it was so hot out and I wasn't going to last long at the beach. Nonetheless, I drove around and scoped it out for my next visit. There is an adorable little Inn/Restaurant there called Tides Beach Club that I am dying to try out! I explored for a bit and then drove back toward the Kennebunkport downtown for an early dinner. Rather than fighting to park right in busy Dock Square, I decided to keep driving down Ocean Ave. I passed the Kennebunk River and several marinas and found that parking was a breeze. I walked around for a bit taking in the views and stumbled upon Mabel's Lobster Claw for dinner. It has been around since the 1950's and had that classic, laid back diner vibe, with an upscale twist. With retro black and white floor tile, coastal New England wall decor and a really neat canoe light fixture at the bar, I was immediately sold. The mini Maine blueberry muffin starter was a nice little surprise after a long day of walking in the sun. I got a lobster roll (my first of the season, I might add) and an ice cold beer that really hit the spot. The lobster roll came with fries, cole slaw and a pickle. The fries were crisped to perfection, the bun was buttered and toasted and it was jam-packed with lobster meat- SO good!
After one last stroll along the water, it was time to head home. I had such a great day in Cape Porpoise and can't wait to go back and explore more with my family. I packed the Paperboat weekender to leave in the car with a change of clothes, shoes, and a few beach items, and I carried the Paperboat backpack around with me with everything I needed for the day. Both worked perfectly for this trip. It was only a short drive away but it felt like a true vacation. I left feeling recharged and even caught the sunset at home. Highly recommend for a fun little day trip!